A few days ago, I went to my friend Matt's house to celebrate his birthday and he sent me home with a box of canvases. I am so thankful! I don't have much experience painting with acrylic paints so this painting was a new adventure for me. I kept using way too much water, saving my whites, etc. I'm quite pleased with the way this painting turned out, considering my lack of experience but I have lots of learning to do!
A few months ago, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary by taking a cruise to the eastern Caribbean. We had so much fun. Our last stop of the cruise was on the island of Grand Turk of the Turks and Caicos. The sand was white, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and we spent the day lounging on the beach. Right after we got there, we walked the beach and found two young boys bringing in conch shells from the ocean. They couldn't have been older than 7 or 8 years old. They were selling them to tourists. As a Floridian, I didn't have a need for shells but they proudly let me take a photo of their finds. The photo of these three shells was one of my favorite photos from our trip. Now I have a painting to match!
I couldn't paint one of my boys without painting the other! This is my sweet, youngest boy. I took a photo of him with a baby chicken at a farm that we went to for his third birthday. I've been wanting to paint this piece for awhile. I love the photo! That poor baby chick. He was holding on to it tightly because he didn't want it to squirm out of his little hands. He just loved it! What a great memory.
Finally a self-portrait that I like! I've really been working on my portrait skills the past couple weeks and this is the first one that I think actually looks like me. A friend told me that I look too serious and that it doesn't match my personality but I was going for serious so mission accomplished, I guess! I'm already laying down pencil for the next portrait. Could 2014 be the year of the portrait?
So this is the first self-portrait that I've done that I'm pretty pleased with. There are some issues with it. The right side of my face is looking pretty old...which wasn't intended but I kind of like it. What I love most about this piece is you can really see my growth since Carol's workshop. Take a look at the painting that I did of the same photo on the left (below.) I did it a day before I left for the workshop and granted, it was much looser and a faster attempt but there is no question that I've grown since learning the new techniques that Carol taught me. I can't wait to do the next....
I had a wonderful weekend! I participated in a workshop with one of my favorite watercolor artists, Carol Carter. We are pictured together above with my new Carol Carter alligator painting. Carol has a unique style of painting. She truly embraces the distinct properties of the watercolor medium. Seeing her work and learning her style of painting was both educational and inspiring.
Carol shared hundreds of examples of her artwork with us. The workshop took place in an old warehouse that was turned into an amazing studio. Carrie Jadus and Mark Aeling are two of the skilled artists that work at Soft Water Studios, the St. Petersburg, Florida studio that hosted Carol's workshop. We were able to work among forty paintings that were on display for Carol's current show, "Postcards From the Edge of Florida." ...Talk about inspiration!
Carol had us complete two different demos - one with cantaloupe and pears; the other with beautiful bell shaped flowers. We all learned the importance of using strong value, intense color, and LOTS of water.
I stayed with my aunt and uncle that live in nearby, Brandon. On Saturday night, they took me to Anna Maria Island to see a sidewalk art festival. A few shots from the event are below. Overall, it was a great weekend, full of art, learning, and new friends. I want to thank Carol for being such a wonderful teacher. She didn't hold back in any way and I feel like I learned so much. She was patient and one of the best teachers I've ever had. I definitely recommend that you take one of her workshops if you are ever given the opportunity.
I've always loved the art nouveau style but recently I've been deliberately trying to work elements of it into my art. I kept the style in mind while composing this piece, by incorporating elements of a Hawaiian coast, a huge circular sun framing a woman, and the big hair that I've incorporated into most of my artwork lately.
Another page from my sketchbook... I know this piece needs a little more work but I'm moving on. Today is my 34th birthday and I need time to reflect and celebrate. It's been a good year but I'm hoping for an even better one next year!
I did this sketch from a photo of my husband and I that was taken on New Years Eve.
I got some sketch time in while watching the BCS Championship Game and the Seminoles won! Woo hoo!
I had every intention of doing the 30 paintings in 30 days Challenge this month with some artist friends but I just couldn't finish a painting today so I did a sketch. Hoping to sketch more this year. I really want to improve my pencil shading skills!
This was a fun one - I did the whole thing in one sitting, adding color after color quickly, before each section dried so the colors could merge and run together. I used all 20 color on my palette, excluding the blacks and browns.
What do you do when you have painters block? You experiment! I used multiple techniques on this piece, painting wet into wet, adding salt, rubbing alcohol, and LOTS of water. I had fun with this one...I think I'll try more like this.
I'm willing to practically GIVE this painting away to one of my awesome followers! I'm going to auction it off on Daily Paintworks. Feel free to put in a bid if you're interested...it starts at $5. I just ask for enough to cover shipping.
2013 was a great year! I learned so much about painting this year. It was truly a year of growth. I feel like my skills have developed as an artist quite a bit in the past 12 months. I've tried new things and pushed boundaries. My goal for this next year is to continue to learn and grow as an artist. I really want to take my skills to the next level by developing interesting compositions and by creating daily - even if it's for only 5 minutes!
"Moon Struck" is another piece inspired by my beautiful sister-in-law, Dyionna. It's a sister painting to the "Dreams and Musings" painting that I did last month. I've been really busy over the holidays. I spent lots of time with family and had a lot of fun so I didn't have much time for painting but I finally finished this morning. It's a big one! 18x28 inches! This painting is my first painting of 2014 - here's to many more!
I've been running with this wild haired woman theme for the past couple months but this piece is different...and I think it may be my favorite so far! It was inspired by my beautiful sister-in-law, Dyionna. Dyionna happens to be my back yard neighbor too. She's very tall, super-model gorgeous, and married to my brother...all excellent things! This piece was painted from a photo that she took shortly after their wedding, in her wedding gown. I couldn't help but paint it!
One of my best friends, Kim inspired this piece. A couple weeks ago, I attempted a creative portrait of her and gave up after a couple days of pretty intense painting. I just couldn't get it to work and eventually ended up abandoning the piece. This was a second attempt at a painting of her and I think I did a pretty good job capturing her likeness from a random photograph that I found of her on Facebook profile.
The symbolism in this piece really means a lot to me. Swallow tattoos on sailors historically show off their sailing experience. Each swallow represents 5,000 nautical miles. The pose/look in her eyes looks seductive and/or love smitten, like a siren. The title, which was recommended by my friend, Davey, seems to tie all of it together. A "sextant" is used for marine navigation by measuring celestial bodies. And in Davey's words, "You certainly have a celestial body there, and it would imply that she is guiding a sailor's heart to home." Love it! Thanks for the inspiration, Kim and Davey!!!
Here's another wild haired woman to add to the collection. My friend, Raina donated the reference photo for this piece. I asked her to take some photos of herself so I could paint her and she sent me several. They were all so funny. She has the most expressive face! This screaming face is really out of character for Raina. She is one of the funniest people I know - so much fun to be around! I really loved creating this painting. I painted most of it wet into wet. I can't wait to do more with the same technique.
The next painting in my "Wild Haired Women" series: Amor. This painting was modeled after a reference photo of my sister-in-law, Darby. She is one of the most beautiful people I know, both inside and out. She has brought so much love to our family. I think the hearts in her hair really tie in well with her personality. She is a big believer in love - agape love to be specific. We've been through a lot in the years that I've known her and I'm thankful to call her a dear family member and friend.
I'm enjoying this series. It has been fun to do portraits lately and I love that they are non-traditional. I'm looking forward to seeing where the next piece takes me. Have a great weekend, all!
Last weekend I was asked to fill in for an artist that couldn't make it to the Church Street Art & Jazz Festival in Downtown Orlando. I had been pulling together resources for a booth for months but hadn't had the opportunity to actually put one up so I jumped at the opportunity.
Saturday was a rainy day and we were concerned that the event would be cancelled but we set up anyway and I'm glad we did. It was a great opportunity to meet Orlando area artists, listen to great music, and I even sold some original artwork. A huge thank you goes out to my husband for helping me set up and tear down for the event and TrezMark Harris for making me feel so welcome.
Here are some photos of my very first art festival booth!
I love the way the petals seem to burst out in this piece. I fell in love with the photo when I saw it pop up in my newsfeed one day. My mom's childhood friend, Barb Wagner took it. She is a wonderful photographer.
Meet Sarena! I was very close to tossing this piece. In the beginning, I was really unhappy with the way it was turning out. The face looked distorted and I couldn't quite get the proportions right but I stuck with it and I'm pretty pleased with the end result. I'm actually thinking of doing a series of paintings with a similar theme.
I guess you could say this is a version of a self-portrait. I used a reference photo of myself, not really with the intention to make it look like me but more for guidance on proportion and shading. When I posted it to my Facebook page, several friends recognized me in the image. I had fun with this piece! I can't wait to do more wild haired ladies.
A few months ago, I was approached by my childhood friend, Amber, with an idea. She wanted me to illustrate a children's book. I was a little hesitant at first. I had never illustrated a book and knew it would take a tremendous amount of time to complete. I knew it was a huge commitment but I told her to send it over anyway for my review. Once I had the opportunity to read it, I knew it was something I HAD to do. "My Dad is in Jail" is a book that sets out to normalize a topic that most adults have a difficult time understanding and accepting.
It the topic controversial? Yes. Will it raise some eye brows? Probably. But I don't care. Think of all the children out there that have parents that are incarcerated. They are forced to live in a single parent household, desperately missing the relationship once had with a father in their daily life. Being a parent and seeing the close relationship my children have with their father helped me realize how much they would be missing if their dad was in jail.
This is the winner of my photo contest! A few weeks ago I had a photo contest on my Facebook page. Many people participated - they posted beautiful photos on my page and when all was said and done, I had to choose one. I had no clue how difficult that would be. There were so many different and gorgeous photos to choose from...but I did and this was it. It was a photo taken by Barb Wagner. Thank you, Barb and all of the wonderful Facebook buddies that participated in the contest. I'll be sending this painting off to Barb soon!
A family friend, Linda Beckham, took a beautiful photo of fall leaves, which inspired this painting. Linda is an amazing photographer and I love seeing her work online. I loved the colors and light so much that I wanted to capture them in my art so I asked her if I could use it as a reference photo. I'm pretty pleased with the way this one turned out. I feel like the leaves glow with light.
My mom gave me a box of old picture frames last weekend and this painting was inspired by one of my favorites (pictured below.) I love it's long shape. This painting will go in the Dia de los Meurtos & Monster Factory exhibit at City Arts Factory in Downtown Orlando, which is running from October 17 - November 15th. There are lots of really amazingly spooky pieces in the show. I hope you'll check it out if you're in the area.
This has to be one of my most fun commissions to date! A friend's sister sent me an email a few weeks ago, asking if I'd do a commissioned piece with Kazoo. Here's a excerpt from her email: "Who is Kazoo you may ask? Kazoo is (her husband) Ben's friend. He refuses to call him a stuffed monkey but, that is who he is. Ben has had Kazoo for about 28 years. Kazoo goes on trips with us (we like to get photos of him in different places) and he was in our wedding. Ben has constructed an entire personality and story line for Kazoo and many of our friends and family know him well."
Caroline was pretty specific about what she wanted, which I found very inspiring! She wanted Kazoo to be wearing a smoking jacket, holding a glass of scotch and a pipe, sitting next to a fire place, with a portrait of Ben hanging above it. She sent me photos of Kazoo, her husband Ben, and their living room fireplace.
I thought the idea was so cute! This morning I woke up to a video of Ben receiving the painting at his birthday party (dubbed Bentoberfest...which is awesome!) Caroline, thank you for sharing Ben's special day with me. It was so much fun to be a part of it!
I made this piece in preparation for a Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) art show, which is coming up in October. I've never painted anything with a skull or any kind of dark symbolism. I must say, it was tough to decide what to paint within the theme. Most of my pieces are very bright and tropical. But I'm happy with the way it turned out. I was able to incorporate some of my favorite art styles - this piece was inspired by art nouveau and Gustav Klimt. I really love the colors and patterns in this piece. I hope you'll make it out to the show - it will be at City Arts Factory in the month of October.
My 13 year old niece Jasmine asked me to paint a painting for her for her birthday, which is just around the corner. She is a gifted writer. When I asked her what she wanted she replied with this:
"The sun is hidden behind thick, grey storm clouds, that threaten to pour down on paradise. You smile as you take in your surroundings. Pine trees surround you on all sides, blowing in the stormy wind. You peer down at the ground and notice a peculiar, lilac flower, broken from the stem, peeping out from underneath the toe of your boot. You bend, and pick up the misplaced flower and begin to walk aimlessly, trying to find the birth place of this flower. Without your knowledge, you break through a small amount of bushes, and you gasp at the amazing sight.
There is a clearing, filled with the mysterious looking flower, that is the center of a pine tree dome. The grey clouds add to the magnificent effect of the dome, almost as if it is the lid of a beautiful trap. You take more steps until you reach the center, and you bask in what you have found to be your personal heaven."
Ha! I love that girl. I've to to be honest, I was taken aback a little by this request. I didn't know where to start. But I was totally inspired by her words. I hope her dedication to writing continues to grow - what an inspiration!
There are fewer things that make me happier than the beach. If you know me well, you know it's my favorite thing to paint. When visiting the islands this summer, one of my favorite stops was Grand Turk. The water was turquoise, the sand was white, and they had the most beautiful palm tree lined shores. I painted this piece from a reference photo that I took while visiting the island. I added in the woman in the small beach shack - I pictured her on the island as if it were desolate and she was waiting for her sailor to return from a long trip at sea. But she can't wait forever! Hence the title "Sojourning." I hope you like this piece! :)
I am honored to have been selected as the winner of the Uptown Art Expo Poster Contest. My artwork will be part of all of the promotional items for the 2014 festival. To view the announcement, check out their website: http://www.uptownartexpo.com/?p=683
I'm very excited and honored to be a part of "The Heat is On" exhibit at City Arts Factory in Downtown Orlando. I'll have the four pieces pictured in the exhibit, which will run from August 15th - September 13th. All four pieces are available for purchase. This is the first time I have had pieces of artwork in an official gallery so this is quite the milestone for me.
The opening of the exhibit will be on Thursday, August 15th from 6-9pm. I hope you'll stop by to see all of the beautiful pieces on display.
I returned from a wonderful East Caribbean vacation with my husband, Alex on Saturday. We took a cruise to Nassau, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. We had an amazing time. We left our boys with my parents and stayed very busy with sight seeing. It was a great way to celebrate our 10 year anniversary! Needless to say, I really missed my kids and painting but I came back with lots of inspiration.
One of my favorite trees that is native to the caribbean islands is the flamboyant tree. They are beautiful! I decided to paint one in a graphic style (above). I used the reference photo below, which Alex took with his cell phone. Obviously, I used an artistic license to make the scene more appealing. I'm thankful I was able to squeeze in some painting time before heading back to work tomorrow. Yay!